My personal favourite, of course, is the photo of agatized dinosaur bone cells. I'll be looking at the internal structure and mineralisation of dinosaur bones for my taphonomy project, although I may not get anything as beautiful as this!
Photomicrographer: Douglas Moore, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, United States
Specimen: Agatized dinosaur bone cells, unpolished, ca. 150 million years old (42X)
Technique: Stereomicroscopy, fiber optics
Image: Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Find the rest of the Nikon Small World Top 20 here.
Imagine you are a renowned artist, with a government art grant. You have recently painted a still life in watercolour, using your grant money. Now imagine that you pay a gallery to hang your work, and then the gallery sell the original and keep all the profit. And they also sell reproductions and postcards of your painting, again keeping all the profit. And every time a member of the public wants to view the original, a reproduction, or postcard, they have to pay... guess who... the gallery.
Although the above scenario seems ludicrous, that is almost exactly what is happening to scientific journal paper authors. We use grant money to conduct original research, pay a publisher to take our free (to them) paper, then they sell our paper over and over again, giving no profit to the original author. They even put caveats on the author's rights to distribute their own paper! It may have worked back when we needed publishers to print, bind, and distribute our papers, but with the advent of online journal paper repositories its clearly an outmoded system.
This issue was first raised by George Monbiot’s piece Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist published in The Guardian. There is another in depth discussion called Researchers! Stop doing free work for non-open journals! and in Authors versus publishers written by the team at SV-POW!. They have been covering this issue for a while now, and it will be interesting to see where it goes...
Image courtesy of nkzs.
About the author
Dr Caitlin Syme is a palaeontologist studying the taphonomy (preservation state) of fossil non-avian dinosaurs, crocodiles and fish from the Winton Formation, Queensland, Australia. Think forensic science or CSI for fossils, and you're on the right track!
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